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NBA star Russell Westbrook, wife Nina expecting twin girls

NBA star Russell Westbrook and his wife, Nina, announced Tuesday they are expecting twin girls in a YouTube video produced by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The video is called "The Westbrook Family." Nina lets out the news they're having twins 2:12 into the video. Russell mentions they will be girls at the 2:28 mark.

> Watch the video here

The couple already have a 1-year-old son named Noah.

>> Read more trending news 

Russell had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. The seven-time All-Star and former MVP is expected to miss preseason and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. The Thunder's first game is Oct. 16 at Golden State.

Police: Child allegedly hurt by bullies actually hurt in fall at apartment complex

Update 10 p.m. EDT Aug. 30: Olympia police confirmed Thursday that after further investigation, they found the injuries sustained by the 6-year-old boy were not be the result of an assault as originally reported by the mother and child -- but instead were the result of a fall that happened at the child’s West Olympia apartment complex. 

Police said there are no suspects of any age. 

“Appropriate social services have been notified to ensure the continued welfare of the child involved,” Olympia Police Lt. Sam Costello said in a statement. 

Original report: A mother in Olympia, Washington, wants answers after she says an attack by a group of children left her 6-year-old son hospitalized.

>> Watch the news report here

Police think the group of children attacked Carter English, 6, at the Courtside Apartments on the afternoon of Aug. 22. 

Dana English said she found her son on the stairs of the apartments with blood covering his face and injuries that almost resulted in him losing an eye.

>> 5th-grader doesn’t fight back against bullies, says it isn’t Jedi way

“They hit him with rocks and sticks. He was just kind of sitting there. When they did his surgery (Friday) they documented pulling out pieces of debris and rock out of his eye,” English told KIRO 7’s Jessica Oh on Friday. 

On Friday, police were still trying to find the children, who allegedly range from 5 to 10 years old, but officers told English that even if they track the kids down, there’s only so much they can do.

>> Read more trending news 

“I was told by the police that it’s an unfortunate situation that happened to my son and that it can be documented, but that’s as far as they can go,” Dana English said. 

However, because they’re children, English does not blame them – despite what they did to her child. 

“My heart is broken for all of these children for many reasons. We are raising our future right now and letting them bully each other and attack each other and looking the other direction is unacceptable,” English said. 

Carter was released from the hospital on Friday and returned home surrounded by support. Children are writing him letters and giving him gifts. 

Detroit schools shut off drinking water over lead, copper contamination

Four years after reports surfaced that tap water in Flint, Michigan, was contaminated with lead, Detroit's public school district is shutting off drinking water after tests revealed large amounts of lead or copper at a majority of its schools.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti decided to turn off the water at the district's 24 schools after "water in 16 of them was found to have high levels" of the substances.

>> Read more trending news 

"Although we have no evidence that there are elevated levels of copper or lead in our other schools where we are awaiting test results, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broader analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions for all schools," Vitti said in a statement to the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday.

District officials said aging water fixtures may have caused the contamination, the AP reported. The Great Lakes Water Authority, which provides water to the schools, "says its water surpasses all federal standards," according to the AP.

Over 40,000 students attend schools in the district, whose school year begins next week.

Read more here or here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Why whooping cough is making a comeback

After a week with a dry cough, Karen Andes’ son started experiencing middle-of-the-night coughing fits so severe, he couldn’t talk. He returned home from his first trip to the urgent care clinic in mid-July with an inhaler and a five-day course of steroids.

The coughing fits didn’t abate, and after a few days, the Decatur, Georgia, teenager jumped out of bed and got his mom’s attention by clapping his hands, unable to get any words out. He gasped for air, tears running down his face.

>> On AJC.com: 5 things every parent should know about immunization

His mother took him to another doctor, who suggested he may have reflux.

But a combination of Andes’ medical background (she’s an assistant professor of global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University) and a mother’s intuition told her something else was tormenting her son — pertussis, also known as whooping cough. The family requested the child’s name not be published. 

Whooping cough, a potentially life-threatening childhood illness, all but disappeared in the 1940s after a vaccine was developed. But in recent decades, the illness has been making a comeback. Changes in the vaccine and waning immunity are likely contributing to the resurgence of the illness, according to experts.

In recent years, there have been outbreaks not seen since the 1950s.

In 2012, the United States had the highest number of whooping cough cases in more than 50 years with 48,277 reported cases and 20 deaths. Most of the deaths occurred among infants, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Georgia, there were 318 cases in 2012, which included no deaths. Since then, there have been three whooping cough-related deaths (two in 2013 and one in 2016) in Georgia, and all of the deaths involved babies.

Last year, there was a total of 163 reported cases of whooping cough in Georgia, according to the CDC. And this year through Aug. 21, there has been a total of 102 cases, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

>> On AJC.com: What you need to know about mumps

The highly contagious respiratory illness is not always on the radar of doctors and can be mistaken for a cold, bronchitis, reflux. The Georgia Department of Health said it’s not uncommon for someone to see two, even three doctors before getting a proper diagnosis.

Andes insisted on getting her son tested for whooping cough. Results from a nose culture came back positive.

“At first, I felt relieved, and even a bit proud of myself,” said Andes, “but then the reality sunk in that we may be in for more difficult nights.”

The older vaccine for whooping cough was phased out in the late 1990s. It carried a high risk of serious but temporary side effects like pain, and swelling at the site of injection, as well as serious complications such as febrile convulsions, which are fits or seizures caused by a sudden change in a child’s body temperature, and loss of consciousness. One study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente’s Vaccine Study center in Oakland, Calif., found the newer pertussis vaccine, while safer and with fewer side effects than the older version, is not as effective.

The 2016 study from Kaiser Permanente’s Vaccine Study Center found that the booster vaccine known as Tdap provides moderate protection against whooping cough during the first year after vaccination, but its effectiveness wanes to less than 9 percent after four years among teenagers who have received only a newer form of the whooping cough vaccine (known as acellular pertussis vaccine) as infants and children.

>> Vaccines help prevent flu deaths in children, CDC study finds

Pertussis can cause serious illness in people of all ages and can even be life-threatening, especially in babies. About half of babies under 1 year of age who get pertussis need treatment in a hospital, according to the CDC. The illness can have a lasting effect on lung function, leaving people with shortness of breath.

Meanwhile, a team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Georgia, found in a new study while some people lose immunity relatively quickly, the vaccine can be protective for many decades. The study, published in a March issue of Science Translational Medicine, also found the dwindling number of people still alive who survived pertussis infections in the days before vaccination, and therefore gained lifelong immunity, is also playing a role in the resurgence. When the vaccine was first introduced in the 1940s, there were very high rates of vaccination, which led to an overall decrease in transmission.

Senior author Pejman Rohani, who has a joint appointment in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and the Odum School of Ecology, said the number of people who are susceptible to contracting pertussis is slowly rising — setting the stage for an increase in the number of new cases, especially in older individuals. This is known as the “end of the honeymoon” period, he said.

And even though the effectiveness of vaccines may wane over time, experts say people should still make sure to get them. Skipping the vaccines, Rohani said, “would be a terrible idea, especially the routine scheduled and maternal vaccination.”

>> CDC warns of measles in 21 states, including North Carolina, Florida

He added that researchers are still working on deciding whether people should get more frequent booster vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Andes’ son, who was fully vaccinated against whooping cough, completed a round of antibiotics and is doing better. But he still has a lingering cough, and a full recovery could take months.

After the diagnosis, Andes notified City of Decatur schools about her son’s illness. It was over summer break, but he was participating in a high school band camp and was around other high school students. City of Decatur Schools spokesperson Courtney Burnett said a letter was sent to parents of students at Decatur High School informing them of the illness. Burnett said the school system is not aware of any other whooping cough cases.

Andes, who also got whooping cough (likely from her son) but was treated early before symptoms got severe, is sharing her family’s story to help raise awareness about whooping cough.

She wants families to know the following: don’t assume you can’t get whooping cough because you’ve been vaccinated; whooping cough not only affects babies; early treatment is key (not only may it help reduce the severity or the length of the illness, it prevents spreading the illness to others); and whooping cough “doesn’t always whoop,” particularly in adolescents and adults. Her son burped for air after each attack. She checked his fingernails — and they were purplish-blue near the cuticles because he wasn’t getting enough oxygen.

“Each episode was very scary. It was absolutely terrifying,” she said. “Our journey is not over yet, but I have learned a lot.”

Vaccination recommendations

The CDC recommends pertussis (also called whooping cough) vaccines for people of all ages. Babies and children should get five doses of DTaP for maximum protection. DTaP is a vaccine that helps children younger than age 7 develop immunity to three deadly diseases caused by bacteria: diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis).

Health care professionals give a dose of DTaP at 2, 4 and 6 months, at 15 through 18 months, and again at 4 through 6 years. They give children a booster dose known as Tdap to preteens at 11 or 12 years old.

>> Read more trending news 

Teens or adults who didn’t get Tdap as a preteen should get one dose. Getting Tdap is especially important for pregnant women during the third trimester of each pregnancy. It’s also important that those who care for babies are up-to-date with pertussis vaccination. 

You can get the Tdap booster dose no matter when you got your last regular tetanus and diphtheria booster shot (Td). Also, you need to get Tdap even if you got pertussis vaccines as a child or have been sick with pertussis in the past.

The impact of anti-vaxxers on the comeback of whooping cough

Even though children who haven’t received DTaP vaccines are at least eight times more likely to get whooping cough than children who received all five recommended doses of DTaP, they are not the driving force behind the large-scale outbreaks or epidemics, according to the CDC. Even so, their parents are putting their children at greater risk of getting whooping cough and possibly spreading the illness to others.

Whooping cough: Know the signs

Whooping cough starts like the common cold, with a runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and maybe a mild cough or fever. But after one to two weeks, severe coughing can begin and can include many rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound. It’s important to note not everyone with pertussis will cough and many who cough will not “whoop.” Babies may not cough at all though. Instead, they have trouble breathing.

Source: CDC

Grieving mom searching for bag made from dead son's Army uniform, believes it was stolen

Judith Church of Massachusetts is on the hunt for a cherished item that her family believes was stolen from her car one week ago.

>> Watch the news report here

Church is searching for a bag given to hear after her son's sudden death in 2011, made from the Army uniform he wore during a yearlong deployment in Iraq.

"I have been going crazy; I'm searching everywhere," Church said

Brian McSharry was a rookie Brockton police officer and a member of the United States Army Reserve.

>> Read more trending news 

"That was his last uniform, so I carried it with me all the time, and his best friend made it for me," Church said.

The last time anyone saw the bag was over a week ago, when Church's husband, Daryl, said it was in a parked car at a Rhode Island go-kart track.

"I think somebody went in the car, and they saw it in there and thought it had expensive stuff in it," Daryl Church said. "There's really nothing in it. It means more to her than it does to anyone else."

The bag is an easy one to spot, with "McSharry" and "U.S. Army" printed above the side pockets.

Along with those words, the phrase, "Smile like you mean it" is sewn into the shoulder strap.

>> On Boston25News.com: Father takes action after viral video of child climbing pool ladder

McSharry's cousin, Kristy Brown, has been spreading the word on social media and said the family just wants the bag back with no questions asked. 

"I would hope other people would hear about it, and If they saw it, just send it," Brown said. "That’s it. Things inside can be replaced, but the bag itself can't be."

5 things every parent should know about immunization

Within the first few months of your child's life, your pediatrician will likely start talking to you about immunizations. Even if your house is stocked with hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap, it's important to know what options are out there to keep your kid safe from diseases that could have harmful consequences.

>> On AJC.com: What you need to know about mumps

With all of the talk out there about the pros and cons of getting your child immunized, here are five things you need to know about how the process works and why doctors recommend it:

What is immunization? 

The World Health Organization defines immunization as the process that makes a person immune or resistant to an infectious disease. The most common way to achieve this is by giving the person a vaccine. Over the past 200 or so years, doctors have been able to use vaccines to fight diseases that used to kill millions of people, including young children, every year.

How does immunization work? 

Vaccines are usually given through a needle injection, though Verywell noted there are some that can be given through the mouth or the nose.

According to WebMD, once a vaccine enters the body, it helps the immune system develop antibodies that fight the virus or bacteria that causes that specific illness. (The process can take a few weeks, so your child won't instantly become immune.) The next time your child runs into that virus or bacteria, his body will have the tools it needs to fight off the illness.

Does my child really need to be vaccinated?

If you plan to enroll your child in a daycare or school, there may be minimum vaccination requirements before they can get started. According to he National Vaccine Information Center, exceptions can be made based on certain medical or religious grounds, but an application is required.

If you don't have any medical or religious concerns, vaccines are strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control to help slow the progress of infections. When more people get vaccinated against a certain disease, outbreaks can be prevented because the germs won't be able to travel as fast through the population. This is called community immunity.

>> Read more trending news 

Which vaccines are recommended for kids?

The CDC website lists 16 potentially harmful diseases that their recommended vaccines can protect against. Those diseases are:

Each vaccine should be taken during a specific age range, so be sure to talk to your child's doctor to find out the right time to bring them in for their shots.

What are the risks involved with vaccines?

KidsHealth says the most common reactions to vaccines are fever and redness, swelling and soreness where the shot was given. In rare cases, patients have had seizures or severe allergic reactions. If you're concerned about side effects, Parents Magazine has some tips for easing the sting and making your child's first immunization experience as comfortable as possible.

If you have questions about vaccines or side effects, it's best to talk to your child's doctor.

'Sexist' quote removed from Texas school wall after social media backlash

A Texas school has removed a controversial quote from one of its walls after it sparked complaints on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

According to the Houston Chronicle, the quote, which read, "The more you act like a lady, the more he'll act like a gentleman," had been on display above a row of lockers at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The words are "commonly attributed to Sydney Biddle Barrows," aka the "Mayflower Madam," who pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution in the 1980s, USA Today reported.

A photo of the quote made the rounds on social media Friday.

"This is the wall at Gregory-Lincoln Middle School in Houston ISD," Twitter user Lisa Beckman wrote, according to USA Today. "It's perpetuating horrible gender stereotypes, shaming women, and relinquishing boys of all responsibility. It's sexist, mysogonistic (sic), and discriminatory! I'm horrified." 

>> See the tweet here

Beckman's tweet quickly went viral, with nearly 9,000 shares and 23,000 likes by Sunday morning.

KTRK reported Saturday that the quote had been taken down.

"Please be advised that the quote on the wall of Gregory Lincoln PK-5 Education Center has been removed," the Houston Independent School District said in a statement. "Overnight, the wall decal letters were taken down, the wall was floated out, and new slab of drywall was installed and painted."

School board member Diana Davila tweeted a photo of the blank wall Saturday.

"This was removed last night," she wrote. "Thanks to the people who brought it to our attention."

>> See the tweet here

Boy dying from leukemia wants racing stickers for his casket

UPDATE: The family of Caleb Hammond said it greatly appreciates the overwhelming response, but have asked the public to discontinue sending racing stickers. In an Aug. 22 Facebook post, the family showed an image of the delivered packages. Those who would like to contribute are directed to the family’s GoFundMe campaign.

Read below for the original story. 

A terminally ill Iowa boy who wants to decorate his casket with racing stickers is asking the public for help.

According to the Des Moines Register, Caleb Hammond, 11, of Oskaloosa, was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017. After months of unsuccessful chemotherapy treatments, a bone marrow transplant and medical scares, including a week in a medically induced coma with heart failure symptoms, he and his family recently decided to stop treating his illness and spend time together, the newspaper reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Now Caleb, a racing fan who loves to visit Southern Iowa Speedway, has a final request: for the public to send him racing stickers.

"We're trying to decorate his casket," his uncle, Chris Playle, told the Register.

Meanwhile, Team Kids With Cancer 46-7 made one of Caleb's dreams come true by getting him behind the wheel of a hobby stock race car. He drove in a six-lap race Saturday, the Register reported.

>> See the family's Facebook post about the event here

Read more here.

Mom saves 2 kids moments before toy jeep bursts into flames

A battery-powered toy jeep burst into flames just moments after kids had been playing with it, a Massachusetts mom says.

>> Watch the news report here

Michelle Kline said she bought the SportRax Awesome XL for her 3-year-old, Quincy, and his little sister, Nellie, but never expected it to pose such a danger to her family.

"Part of the reason we bought the jeep that we bought was because the weight was ... I think it was 105 pounds the company told us it was rated for," she said. "It was four-wheel drive."

>> Georgia dad dies saving daughter, 4, from oncoming car, family says

Kline said her two children were driving up the neighbor's lawn when smoke began to pour out from under the hood. That's when she pulled them out of the toy car without thinking twice. 

"They were buckled in, and they are both little, so neither of them could have gotten themselves out," Kline said.

As soon as the kids were safe, the jeep went up in flames, burning for several more minutes.

"It was alarming how quickly it went up. It went from a little bit of smoke to a full-on fire within, like, two minutes; that was the scary thing," Kline said.

North Andover Fire Chief Bill McCarthy said the fire appeared to be related to the toy's battery, but figuring out the exact cause of the fire may be nearly impossible. 

>> Read more trending news 

"The mother did a good job of noticing something was wrong," McCarthy said. "We notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the Fire Marshal’s Office just to see if they’ve had something similar."

As for the kids, Kline said they don't seem to be bothered about losing their toy, but she said she has no plans to replace it.

"That’s sort of the bigger thing: You don't want this to happen to someone else," Kline said.

Staples manager fired after accusing woman pregnant with twins of shoplifting

Staples said in a statement Monday that it has fired the manager who assumed an expecting mother had shoplifted at one of its stores in North Carolina.

>> Watch the news report here

Shirell Bates told WSOC-TV that she now regrets leaving her home on Friday for back-to-school shopping at the Pineville store.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Pregnant Staples shopper says she was wrongfully accused of shoplifting, hiding items under shirt

"Being pregnant is already high-risk, and having to deal with that, just additional stress that I don't need,” Bates said.

Bates said she learned that the manager was fired on social media.

Bates said a police officer asked her if she was shoplifting while she was checking out of the store.

"Mid-transaction, a police officer approached me and insisted he wanted to speak with me,” Bates said. “He asked what was under my shirt.”

Bates is pregnant with twins.

"Initially, I thought he was joking, so my response was, 'Twins,’” Bates said. “I'm 34 weeks with twins. I'm having a boy and a girl."

Bates said the officer didn’t believe her the first time, and he asked her again.

"At that point, to avoid him asking me again, I actually lifted my shirt just a little bit, just to expose my belly, so he could see that I'm just a regular pregnant person buying school supplies,” Bates said.

Pineville police said a Staples manager approached the officer and asked him to speak with Bates because the manager believed Bates may have been “concealing merchandise.”

>> More on WSOCTV.com: Manager at North Carolina Staples fired after accusing pregnant woman of shoplifting

"When I confronted her about what happened, she admitted that, 'In the past, we've had a lot of people putting school supplies or merchandise in their clothes and hiding, so I asked the officer to reach out to you,’” Bates said.

Staples issued the following statement:

“On Friday at our Pineville location a Staples’ manager mistakenly assumed a customer was shoplifting and reported this assumption to a police officer visiting the store. The police officer questioned the customer and quickly confirmed there was no theft. Based on the outcome, Staples’ issued a full refund to the customer.

Staples has since conducted a full investigation into the matter, and determined that the manager in question did not follow correct protocol and also failed to adhere to our existing policy on how to interact with our customers. As a result of this finding, the manager has been terminated and Staples has apologized to the customer. At Staples, we want all customers to feel welcome in our stores, and work with our associates to foster an inclusive culture. As an organization, we would like to apologize to the customer as that was not the case in this instance.”

Bates said she planned to contact Staples' corporate office and possibly seek legal action.

"You pretty much jumped the gun without any type of evidence, except my stomach is large,” Bates said. “That’s not fair. No mom should have to go through that."

>> Read more trending news 

Staples said Monday that the manager did not follow the correct protocol and did not adhere to the company's policy on interacting with customers.

The company said it has since apologized to Bates.

Bates said she would like Staples to provide sensitivity training for all employees.

She also hopes Staples improves its communication with customers who submit formal complaints.

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